It’s a rare occasion for A Wheel Thing to be in the seat of a proper sports car; with a huge nod of thanks to Audi, A Wheel Thing went one on one with the Audi TT Quattro.
Turbo technology for consumer level petrol powered cars has come a long, long way since the 1970’s. Audi’s bolted a “hairdryer” to a 2.0L petrol engined four cylinder, with a massive 370 Newton metres of torque available across a mesa flat range, from 1500 to 4300 revs. With the TT weighing just over 1410 kilos unladen to a total gross weight of 1730, it’s a measly four point six kilos (roughly) being moved from each metre of Mr Newton’s finest torques.
Peak power is on tap from 4500 to 6200 revs, ensuring a smooth transition from twist to pull in the pursuit of driving nirvana. Top speed is an electronically limited 250 km/h (speedo says 300…) while the ton comes up in six seconds (front wheel drive) and 5.3 seconds with all four paws. The oomph is sent to all four corners via a six ratio, dual clutch, automatic transmission and an electronic, rear axle mounted, multi plate clutch. The whole shebang operates seamlessly.
There’s no doubting its heritage, with a look clearly pointing to the now iconic original whilst being as modern as tomorrow. There’s the same, fluid, rounded profile, the hatchback third “door”, a compact size (under 4200 mm in length) however the front is somewhat sharper, more up to date with LED headlights (with a distinctive vertical bar) whilst the shapely rump gets neon look lights. Rolling stock is 19 inch alloys, with grippy 245/35 rubber thanks to Hankook.
There’s LED powered indicator strips underneath the headlights, which strobe when the car is locked and unlocked. Sadly, it’s not something many drivers would know of and appreciate. What it does, however, is further amplify how much thought Audi has put into the nuances of the TT, such as the iconic alloy fuel filler lid, emblazoned with TT.
The front is angular; there’s the hexagonal “Single Frame” main air intake, flaked by two deep set ducts that echo the edgy design of the headlight casings. The lower edge of the bonnet continues as a crease line, joining front to rear and breaking up the flatness of the doors. The rear finishes off nicely, with more than a hint of the original in the lower extremity, with the addition of a balanced look thanks to the dual exhaust. In essence, it’s a beautifully cohesive exercise in design.
On The Inside.
Sure it’s snug, like slipping on a boot whilst wearing winter socks. Yet there’s no feeling of claustrophobia…except for any rear seat passengers. If you’re two feet tall, you’ll fit; otherwise, forget it. Yes, the padding is spot on, as is the support, but when you’re dealing with a short wheelbase, leg room for those at the front isn’t the priority.Audi have taken simplicity to a new level in the area that counts for the most; where the driver sits. Take the centre upper console: gone is the normal (nowadays) info screen, in it’s place is “old school” with thre air vents and it’s here that Audi has taken simplicity to ridiculous heights. Nowhere to be found are dials and levers near the vents, instead the temperature/fan speed/air direction mode are located inside a touch button/dial in the centre of the vents themselves. Simple. Smart. effective.It’s the driver, though, that gets the best toy (apart from the car itself) to play with. Audi call the dash the “Virtual Cockpit”; fitted with a gorgeous high resolution 12.3-inch display , it shows everything the driver needs, from speed, tacho (which reacts as quickly as the engine thanks to a high speed refresh rate), to the music station or media feed, to a whole navigation screen. Being a high definition screen, it’s super clear, non fatiguing on the eyes and, of course, uber cool.To use it, there are either controls on the steering wheel or a dial wheel with a touchpad on top. Two main buttons next to the dial help you pick between navigation (based on Google Earth and Street View!) and media, then the rest is done with the dial and touchpad. It’s super easy to use, and makes it very easy to use without taking your eyes far off the road. Especially having the full navigation screen just there, it’s deliciously simple and wonderfully efficient.
Then there’s the addition of the S Line componentry: from the gloss black grille, front and rear bumpers and door sill inserts and more, allowing a driver to personalise their car thoroughly. Speaking of cool, Audi has eschewed the traditional bulbs for the interior lighting, with cool white LED’s doing the trick, even down to framing the speaker housings in the door.The centre console plays host to the jog dial that allows you to swing through the various settings, plus there’s a couple of switches for Navigation and Radio but it’s forward of the gear selector lever that we’ll find a VIB (Very Important Button). It’s marked “Drive Select” and it’s responsible for the varying driving characteristics the TT can offer.
There’s Sport, Dynamic, Auto and it adds weight to the steering, sends more grunt to the rear to provide a more sporting edge, lowers the car by up to ten mm, all dependent on which setting. Does it work? Does it ever! Combined with a beautifully sized, leather wrapped, steering wheel, it’s automotive nirvana.
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of hidden and semi visible technology; take the Blind Spot Monitoring system; the sensors themselves are unobtrusive and the warning lights themselves are in the wing mirror supports, rather than in the mirror lenses themselves. There’s Auto headlights, with a sensor switching the brilliant white lights to high beam if it reads no oncoming headlights. There’s also heating for the wing mirros plus the usual assortment of electronic driver aids and airbags aplenty.
On The Road.
Audi has pushed and pulled the TT into various weight saving strategies; there’s lighter seats, all aluminuim panels and that engine takes advantage of every lost kilo (end weight is around 1230 kg). It’s thought sensitive in steering and engine/gearbox response as a result. The various Drive Select settings allow the driver to take advantage of the electronic parameters and the whole package comes together, holistically, to provide a complete driving experience.
Acceleration is seat of the pants quick, it’s almost tactile in how the car reacts from light to heavy throttle pressure. Audi quotes 5.3 seconds to 100 kilometres per hour, however the pucker factor says it’s quicker. With a gentle prod, the TT’s torque is already working, with a sensation of refined effortless as the speedo’s numbers seem to change quicker than they should.
The steering is around two turns lock to lock and is so tight that the merest twitch of an eyebrow will have the car moving in a left or right direction. Lateral grip is stupendous; try as one might, there was no way known the TT would lose traction sideways and it’s obvious how good longitudinal grip was.It’s not all beer and chips though; there’s road noise, plenty of it, intrusive at times through the excellent B&O sound system. The rear vision mirror is also located at just the right spot to block (from the driver’s seat) leftward vision, making it difficult to see oncoming traffic at intersections. Ride quality was variable; a slow speed over a speed bump would have the TT comfortable-ish, but at a reasonable clip would have the same bump shattering bones and rattling fillings.
Fuel consumption was surprising for such an animal, one expects fuel to be slurped quicker than a tradie’s beer on a Friday afternoon during summer, final consumption was 7.2L per 100 kilometres.
A Wheel Thing relies on the support of manufacturers in order to provide reviews; as such, access to cars of the calibre of the TT are rare and A Wheel Thing publicly thanks Audi Australia for their support.
There’s been sports oriented cars in the garage: Volvo’s explosive Polestar, Ford’s brutal XR8 and HSV’s sledgehammer Club Sport, but the TT offers a level of finesse and iron fist in a better measure.
The TT is raw, almost unbridled, in its hard edged appeal to a driver that enjoys a true driver’s car. The razor sharp steering, the taut suspension, the muscular stance of the TT’s haunchs, appeal greatly and with the range starting at just over $71K (front wheel drive manual) plus on roads, with the test car a touch under $95K drive away, it’s not a horrendous amount of money for pure exhilaration.
For further information on the Audi TT, go here:Audi TT
The Car: Audi TT Quattro S Line.
Engine: 2.0L in-line, four cylinder turbocharged.
Power/Torque: 169 kW/370 Nm @4500-6200 rpm/1600-4300 rpm.
Fuel: 95RON recommended.
Transmission: six speed S-Tronic dual clutch automatic.
Consumption: 8.4L/100 km urban, 5.5L/100 km highway, 6.5L/100 km combined.
0-100 kmh: 5.3 seconds (claimed).
Wheel/Tyre (as fitted): 245/35/19.